This San José Area Report is courtesy of Yves Zsutty of the City's Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Services Department
Three Creeks Trail Acquisition
An action to acquire the Three Creeks Trail parcels from Lonus Street to Minnesota Avenue will be on the September 27 Council Agenda. The action formalizes the intent to acquire lands from UPRR, opens escrow, and provides San Jose the opportunity to view documents pertaining to the parcels. During this period, we expect that the State of California will certify that all clean-up work is done so we will have assurance that we are purchasing clean land suitable for future trail development. The agenda for September 27 meeting is not yet posted. You’ll find it on the following web page within a few days: http://www.sanjoseca.gov/clerk/agenda.asp
Last November, we received great news from the FHWA that San Jose’s Trail Program won the EHEI (Exemplary Human Environment Initiative) award. FHWA and Caltrans staff attended this week’s Transportation & Environment Committee to formally present a plaque: http://www.sjparks.org/trails/TrailsAwards.asp The award acknowledges the City and several of its public partners (including Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition!) in the development of an interconnected trail network that provides off-street recreational and travel opportunities. From the award, “In recognition of an outstanding commitment to environmental stewardship for developing an early partnership to expand the trail network in San Jose, California. The city’s goal to construct 100 miles of interconnected trails, which was reaffirmed in the mayor’s Green Vision, will include 35 trail systems with links to parks, housing, employment, and regional trails. The City’s scope of trail development, trail prioritization efforts, trail design, partnership, collaborative planning process, data collection, and public outreach serve as models for other cities and agencies.”
EEMP Grant Applications
In August, we received very short notification that Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program (EEMP) grant applications were due. In previous years, we’ve had 90 days to develop proposals, secure council authority to apply and prepare the applications. This year’s 45 day notice had us scrambling – particularly because the processing of a council memo takes about 45 days with the internal reviews and “sunshine” early posting requirements. Advance work is not possible in these instances because grant guidelines and conditions for use of funds vary from year to year, and must be spelled out clearly in a council action. We are happy to report that we submitted two grant applications on September 9. The grant program requires that we identify major transportation projects in the vicinity that have met all environmental and mitigation requirements. We align trail projects to these transportation projects as a means of environmental enhancement. Our two projects; Lower Silver Creek Trail and Thompson Creek Trail aligned well with VTA projects now underway along Capitol Expressway and Alum Rock Avenue.
Coyote Creek Trail Master Plan
The City Council adopted the Coyote Creek Trail master plan on September 13. The plan defines 4.1 miles of future trail development from Montague Expressway to Watson Park (Highway 101). The plan in draft form is posted at: http://www.sjparks.org/Trails/coyote/documents/MasterPlan.pdf . Some minor edits and additional attachments will appear in a final version to be posted on the Trail Program website within a couple weeks. Plans like this take years to complete; hundreds of staff hours, many community meetings and coordination with regulatory agencies, property owners and other stakeholders. With adoption of the plan, the Coyote Creek Trail system is now fully defined and we are seeking resources to proceed with design and construction activities.
Trail Count 2011
We plan to conduct this year’s count and survey on September 28. The data collection effort has been a valuable resource to improve project plans, design and advocacy for grant funding. Trail supporters are encouraged to volunteer one or two hours to staff a count station and hand out a survey post card to all interested trail users. The count of pedestrians and bicyclists on an hourly basis permits us to define total usage and peak travel times. The survey helps us better understand if people are using trails for recreation or commuting, and what attributes like the best as well as areas for improvement. Please consider spending some time on the trails for this year’s Trail Count. Contact Mollie Tobias at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up and learn more about past counts at: http://www.sjparks.org/Trails/TrailCount.asp
San Jose Trail Program staff has been invited to speak at two upcoming conferences about trail development. The American Society of Landscape Architects Conference, held in November 2011, will have San Jose join with Atlanta to discuss each city’s unique approach for developing multi-modal transportation systems. The California Parks and Recreation Society Conference occurring in March 2012 provides staff an opportunity to present on two topics; Urban Trail Development and Inter-Agency Coordination (co-presented with Santa Clara Valley Water District staff).
Sign up for “SanJoseTrails” on Twitter for periodic updates on development work, trail closures, awards and other matters of interest.